Whatever your goal, if you want to be successful you have to first believe in yourself and then follow a plan. I have shared a post on how to set your goals and I have also shared my thoughts on how to think like an athlete, but today I want to talk about letting go of fear.
How to conquer fear in sport
Athletes don’t only let go of fear they harness their fear to help them succeed. While that might sound bizarre to some readers, I think you’ll understand if we look at fear a little more closely.
Fear is an emotion that can promote an additional release of adrenaline into our bloodstream. To protect ourselves, the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism comes into play and our bodies prepare for action. In sports and other competitive environments, it is not typically the fear of danger that creates this rush of adrenaline but more a mix of anticipation and excitement. Athletes train themselves daily to manage these emotions in a positive way that will enhance their performance.
If you are wondering how knowing this can help you to accomplish your goals, let me explain. Being prepared and having a plan of action will allow you to train your mind to overcome any negative emotions that are standing in your way and you do not have to be an athlete to benefit from mental training techniques.
How to use fear to get closer to your goals
We don’t all have to hurtle down hills to face our fears. In everyday life there are things we might want to do but don’t because the fear of failure is too great.
Making lifestyle changes especially those that involve weight loss and health goals often make people feel anxious and fearful. The fear of failure or a fear of the unknown can often stop people from trying something new. Try using my three simple fear conquering tips to help you overcome any negative emotions and turn them into success.
1: Fear assessment:
Write down a list of the worst things that could happen if you fail, this will often put things into perspective and make you realize that you should just get started on your journey. With so many thoughts running through your mind, things can seem worse than they actually are. We can all be guilty of having an over-active imagination, so writing down your fears will help you assess if they are in fact valid.
2: Define your goal:
Ensure that your goals are written down and try using a
S.M.A R.T goal setting framework. Having a clear destination and time frame in mind will help you on days you want to quit. The feeling of not being in control can bring on negative emotions. I believe that clear goal setting will put you in full control of your success.
3: Positivity training:
Write a positive affirmation and say it every day, the more you tell yourself that you can be successful, the more you will start to believe its true. An example from my old training diary from my athletic days is‘ I am strong, I am powerful I was born to compete at a world level’ or from my days of trying to lose extra baby weight I wrote ‘I will regain my pre baby body, I am strong and focused’. Having a positive mental approach can inspire you to continue on your health journey.
Many athletes will tell you that the mental side of sports is more important than the physical aspect and that self- belief is one of the keys to making your dreams come true.
If you have found yourself starting and stopping over the years with your weight loss and health goals, you may benefit from trying a new positive mental approach. Try not to let your fear of failure get in the way of your success. It is better to try and fail than not try at all.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.